The Board - Layout
The Biostar Hi-Fi A85W features a very basic design for AMD's FM2 sockets. It comes with a very subdued color scheme of a little bit of blue here and there, and the majority of the board is black, including all of its slots. The back of the board is pretty basic as well and, like so many other AMD products, the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W features a full backplate for socket mountings, which is great for making sure your cooling seats itself properly. I have seen a couple of boards that only use the clips on top and no backplate, so this is, while it may seem like a small thing, actually quite an important feature.
The socket area of the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W is nicely open, with very little around the socket, so insulation should be quite simple if you decide to go sub-zero with this product. With the cost of the platform itself being so low, using AMD's FM2 for Subv-zero sessions is something that is definitely going to be easier on the pocket than using Intel platforms. The DIMM slots are full-fledged slots capable of 2400 MHz and then some; that is, according to Biostar. Of course, support for more than 2400 MHz requires some bus clocking, which is why it's rated the way it is.
Expansion possibilities are pretty varied with dual PCIe x16 slots, dual PCIe x1 slots, and dual PCI slots. All are supported natively by the APU or the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W's A85X FCH. There are only three fan headers on the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W. The CPU_FAN header is the only one that is PWM-based, while the other two are 3-pin based, with no user-adjustable controls.
A plethora of headers are here for connecting case cabling and such; USB 2.0, audio, and all the other usual suspects are here as well, including a CIR header for remote control support. All front-panel pin headers are nicely color-coded to make installation that much easier, while the USB 3.0 header is not exactly in the most ideal location by sitting right above the lower PCIe x16 slot. I usually find USB 3.0 headers near the board's edge rather than in the middle, so I was a little disappointed with such a poor choice of placement.
The Biostar Hi-Fi A85W features a backpanel with dual USB 3.0 ports, a quad set of USB 2.0 ports, VGA, DVI, HDMI, a LAN port, and an audio port. There is, unfortunately, no Displayport. SATA support is provided directly by the AMD A85X FCH, with eight ports in total available on the board's lower, right edge.